Demopolis to face stout region foe in Calera

20150828 DHS at Thomasville-9272

No time to rest on its laurels, newly-minted Class 5A No. 10 Demopolis takes to the field Friday night against the team many believe to be the favorite in Region 4, Calera.

In the Eagles, Demopolis draws the No. 8 team in 5A and a squad noted for its penchant for running the ball.

“They’re just so athletic. They’re big. They’re physical. They’ve got great skill, their quarterback and their tailback,” Demopolis coach Stacy Luker assessed.

That tailback is senior Kyle Harrell, a standout who has already verbally committed to continue his career at West Point when he suits up for Army next season. Harrell benefits from a formidable offensive line and a scheme designed to challenge defenses at every point.

“They run the ball real well and they’re big on the offensive line,” Luker said. “They are spread with a plug back, like a lot of teams we play. They want to run the power and the counter and the buck. They like to do a lot of that.

20150828 DHS at Thomasville-9558On the defensive side of the ball, Calera is known to load the box and dare teams to throw the ball.

“They attack you on defense in zero coverage and lock you down. I think they just try to out-athlete you in a lot of ways. It’s going to be a challenge to us,” Luker said. “Defensively, to me, it looks like an old style 4-4 but they really attack with their defensive ends and their linebackers. They like to blitz them a lot. They look really good on film.”

As for Demopolis, the Tigers are headed into only their second regular season game under Luker, his new staff and his old standby Wing-T system that is still largely unfamiliar to them.

“It’s tough at the stage that our program is right now, still learning the new system,” Luker said. “It really worries me because I know this may be the best or one of the best teams in the region that we’ll be playing. I think the winner of this game has an early stranglehold, so to speak, on our region. I think it’s huge.”

Despite that fact, Luker came away from last week’s game film of a 27-0 win over Thomasville with a better impression than he carried when he got onto the bus after the victory.

“We probably were a little cleaner executing at times than what I thought we were Friday night, especially in the first half. I actually forgot that drive that we didn’t score was about 10 minutes,” Luker said. “I thought, defensively, we had some better fits in the first half than I thought. That doesn’t take away the fact that I thought we played like we practiced for the most part last week during that first half.”